The Engage Family Blog

Official Blog of The Family Policy Council of West Virginia

Religion-Free Elections

Yesterday, the Washington Times featured an article on the faith of presidential hopeful, Sen. John McCain.  The thrust of the story is that, while Sen. McCain maintains a personal, religious faith, he is not apt to broadcast his beliefs publicly.

The story quoted from Prof. Wilfred McClay, a professor of humanities at the University of Tennessee at Chatanooga.  The learned professor concluded that it is unlikely that opponents in this presidential election will use religion as a “wedge issue,” attempting to discredit the other’s credibility by calling into question the candidate’s moral underpinnings.  Prof. McClay’s quote ended the article, “We may see a very religion-free election as a result.”

Should our elections be, “religion-free?”

While it is certainly true that our constitution expressly says that, “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office,” (Article VI, Sec. 3) one’s religion is of vital importance and rightly ought to be examined.

The electorate should not compel a candidate to pass a written theological examination; but, what ought to be as open as a candidate’s bookkeeping is what defines their worldview.  For, an understanding of one’s worldview will reveal much about their political philosophy.

Most social issues addressed by our political leadership must stem from a moral base.  In fact, what is law, but a codification of morality?  Thus, the question is not whether or not we ought to legislate morality, it is a question of whose morality will be legislated.

During this election cycle – nationally and locally – we urge those with the power of the vote, to carefully consider a candidate’s worldview.  Test the candidates worldview, as much as you are able, to determine whether it is in line with your convictions.  If it is, cast your vote.  But, where your worldview clashes with the worldview of a candidate for public office, pause to consider the effect of your vote.

To be sure, elections – like the governance that follows – will be anything but, “religion-free.”


Written by Jeremy Dys

April 15, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Posted in Religious Freedom

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